NASA ATREX: NASA to launch 5 rockets in 5 minutes on Sunday, March 18

By on Mar 17, 2012 in Environment, Science, United States Comments

Note: NASA has just announced that the ATREX mission has been rescheduled to no earlier than the night of Tuesday, March 20, due to the high probability of unacceptable weather on March 19. A launch decision will be made Monday evening.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is being set to launch 5 rockets in 5 minutes on Sunday, March 18, 2012, as part of the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) project.

NASA ATREX rockets: (from left to right) Terrier-
Improved Orion (2), Terrier-Oriole (1), and Terrier-
Improved Malemute (2)

Image Credit: NASA/Wallops

As noted at, NASA ATREX mission was originally scheduled to be launched last Wednesday but a radio system glitch on one of the unmanned rockets and was moved to Saturday due to bad weather.

However, NASA was forced to move again the 5-rocket, 5-minute ATREX mission launch on Sunday March 18, also due to possible bad weather being expected on Saturday, emphasizing that clear skies are required so that the data to be gathered will be reliable.

According to NASA, the rockets being used for the ATREX mission are two Terrier-Improved Orions, one Terrier-Oriole, and two Terrier-Improved Malemutes, and will gather information needed for the better understanding of the process responsible for the high-altitude jet stream.

NASA noted that the said high-altitude jet stream is located 60 to 65 miles above the surface of the Earth, from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, with the rockets to release chemical tracers at about 60 miles (97 kilometers) up.

Apparently, NASA added that these visible tracers may be observed for up to 20 minutes by residents in the mid-Atlantic region, as well some parts along the East Coast, where a launch window each night will vary, and to open possibly between 11 p.m. ET and 6:30 a.m.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will be open at least one hour before the opening of the daily launch window for viewing the mission by the public; with the launch to be broadcast live online can be viewed at and coverage will start around two hours earlier.

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